LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) — A woman is behind bars, found guilty of running over two sisters in downtown Lafayette in 2017.
A jury found Nataja Portalis guilty of attempted second-degree murder and aggravated battery in the hit and run.
Prosecuting attorneys say one early morning in April of 2017, two sisters were leaving a bar in downtown Lafayette.
As they were walking in the parking lot of the Rosa Parks bus stop, an argument broke out between the sisters and the driver of another vehicle.
What happened next was violent, and it was all captured on video by a bystander.
“They’re gonna hit her! They’re gonna hit her!” you can hear bystanders shouting in the background of the video.
You then see the two sisters, Mary and Clarissa Collins, running from the vehicle chasing them.
Attorneys in the district attorney’s office say one of the sisters bounced off of the car, though the other sister was pinned underneath the car.
The driver of the vehicle, Nataja Portalis, however, did not stop.
She kept on driving down an alley, dragging one of the sisters almost 200 feet.
Attorneys say Portalis then ran over her.
“She crushed her pelvis. It was broken in several places. She crushed her arm, smashed her head, scalped her. You could see bone matter. It was a miracle she is alive. It was really just a strange, strange violent act,” Assistant District Attorney Alisa Gothreaux said.
Prosecuting attorneys in the district attorney’s office say the key to winning this case wasn’t proving that the driver, Nataja Portalis, hit the two sisters with her car. They say that was obvious.
What they had to prove in court was that Portalis hit the sisters intentionally.
The prosecutors say five witnesses in the vehicle all testified in the trial that this was no accident. In the video, you can also hear bystanders warning others, “They’re gonna hit her!”
Attorneys Alisa Gothreaux and Randal Menard say that’s what helped them win this case.
A jury unanimously found Portalis guilty of attempted second-degree murder and aggravated battery.
“The system worked. A unanimous verdict is tough, but the system did work,” District Attorney Don Landry said.
Portalis’s sentencing is set for early next year. She now faces up to 50 years in prison.